Rifleman Q&A: S&W M629 Markings

posted on December 23, 2022
S&W M629

Q. I recently acquired a Model 629 Smith & Wesson revolver. It has the 83⁄8" barrel and S&W wood stocks. The yoke has “G23” over “42995,” and on the right side, it is marked with “AYF3198” over “M-629-1.” If I didn’t know it to be a 629, I would swear it was nickel; this is, by far, the brightest stainless gun I have seen.

A. The S&W Model 629 was introduced in 1979 as a stainless-steel version of the popular Model 29. Numerous engineering changes have occurred over the course of its production. The first, designated as the M629-1, occurred in 1982 and involved the elimination of the pinned barrel and chamber rim counterbores, along with a slight increase in cylinder length. The serial number AYF3198 does not help in determining the gun’s age, as there is no published listing of serial numbers by production date although, through research, I believe your S&W was produced in early 1988. The 629-1 was replaced by the -2 version in 1988. 

The twice-occurring G23 and 42995 were likely applied to verify that the yoke and frame were a matched set. Any other markings usually represent inspection and approval at different points of production.

At the time of your revolver’s production, there were no options available for degree of polish. Admittedly, it is possible to find variations in the level of polish due to normal human activity and tolerance of polishing equipment. Unless you are the first owner of the gun and can verify the level of finish, I suspect that the shiny appearance you describe was likely achieved through the efforts of a previous owner.

—John W. Treakle, Contributing Editor


Davidsons Exclusive Winchester 1895 1
Davidsons Exclusive Winchester 1895 1

Gun Of The Week: Davidson's Winchester Model 1895 Texas Rangers Edition

Watch American Rifleman staff on the range this week with the Winchester Model 1895 Texas Ranger's 200th Anniversary Edition, a Davidson's Exclusive rifle that commemorates the storied history of Texas law enforcement.

The Armed Citizen® March 24, 2023

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Elbert Searle's Prototype Savage Squeeze-Cocker Pistol

Elbert Searle isn't one of the most well-known firearm designers, but his Savage Model 1907 and its derivatives were popular guns in their time. Now, a unique prototype pistol of his has been discovered, illustrating what else could have been in Savage's early 20th-century handgun lineup.

Spring Sales, Savings & Sweepstakes Ongoing

Special incentives from Hornady, Smith & Wesson and Beretta have already been come and gone, but they were just the first. Things have accelerated since.

I Have This Old Gun: Terry Carbine

One of the most interesting, and short-lived, breechloading designs of the mid-19th century is the Terry carbine, produced by the firm of Calisher & Terry. Despite its novel mechanism, the carbine didn't survive the transition to the metallic-cartridge era.

Favorite Firearms: A Birthday Gift From Dad

When I was growing up, my father was one of the bigger Smith & Wesson collectors in Northern California. This led him to have an acquaintance with Roy Jinks of S&W.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.